Shocking images of teen girls disrespecting graves at Irish cemetery posted on social media
Published 01/06/2016 | 08:47
These are the shocking images which show a gang of teenage girls lying on graves before photographing themselves and posting the pictures on social media.
Security is being stepped up at Belfast's City Cemetery in the wake of the incident.
Belfast City Council, which runs the cemetery between the Falls and Springfield Road, says wardens will be increasing patrols and removing anyone behaving in an anti-social or disrespectful manner.
Six teenage girls were pictured clambering onto graves, lying on some in the prayer position, and hanging over headstones to take selfies for Facebook.
In one picture, a girl posed with a wreath saying "uncle" which the group removed from a recently deceased person's grave.
The girls, who are aged around 16 and claim to be pupils at a Catholic secondary school in Belfast, are seen smiling and posing. In another photograph, two hide their faces as they are snapped by their friends.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: "This sort of behaviour is contrary to the council's published regulations relating to acceptable conduct in our cemeteries, which require people to conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly manner at all times. The council's park wardens will be stepping up their patrolling to try and stop this sort of behaviour."
Residents in west Belfast say a number of wreaths were destroyed and they are revolted and disgusted by the teenagers' antics and have branded them "disgraceful, sick and classless."
Many shared the photos in the hope of "naming and shaming" the girls, who one resident described as "vermin".
DUP MLA William Humphrey condemned the act and urged people to be sensitive to those with loved ones in the cemeteries. "People should respect the likes of graveyards and places of worship and be careful of their behaviour there," he said.
"These teenagers need to remember that people's loved ones are laid to rest there and that graveyards are a place that many go to for peace, to remember their relatives and to draw comfort. For people to disrespect graves in such a way is unacceptable and insensitive and I would like to ask anyone using the cemetery to remember the grieving families of those buried there."
A PSNI spokesperson said anyone desecrating graves, causing a public nuisance or being disorderly during opening hours of the cemetery could face arrest.
Anyone accessing the graveyard after hours would be deemed as trespassing, they said.
They added: "Anyone with any concerns should contact PSNI by calling 101 in a non-emergency."